Watching the Watchmen

May 22, 2015:

Deathstroke has a proposition for Audrey.

New York City

A nameless cafe.

Characters

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

"You're late." says a deep resonante voice behind Audrey as she enters the building and makes her way through the lobby and towards the elevators. It's sans muffeling from masks or helms this time, but the voice is unmistakable. A few months back it gave her food, solace, respite, helped her find firm ground for her feet to settle… then cut her loose. Also clothes. Also a blood bath. But honestly who's perfect. "You're usually back sooner." Which is a statement that says far more then the words do.

Turning around she can see him clearly and somehow it just fits, though perhaps he's a little older then one might imagine. He's huge for starters, beneath the thigh length coat, the vneck shirt, the button down under it, the tailored cargo pants that fall on sensible but stylish boots. The white hair is just long enough to flop but not quite long enough to hang into his eye, which is alone presumably as the other is covered by a path that does little to hide the scars running about from beneath it like a spider web back into his white hair.

"Then I'm getting too comfortable," Audrey replies, turning slowly toward the voice. She certainly looks different from the ragged creature she was a few months ago. She's no flashier, but instead of battered BDUs and layers of clothing, she's dressed professionally, in black trousers, white blouse, and black jacket that's cut to at least lessen the presence of the holster and gun under her arm. Her hair is even braided back, instead of hanging around her face in concealing curtains.

It takes an act of will not to reach for the gun, but by the same token, she when turns to face him, she doesn't shy from inspecting him in turn. She might as well take the chance. "I didn't expect to see you again, sir," she says slowly, choosing her words carefully.

Deathstroke's clothing is also tailored, but imagining him unarmed is harder then imagining the man without the armor on, one of those two things he simply has to do to sleep, the other one-well. "Contrary to popular beliefe life is long young lady, you should learn to expect the unexpected. Walk with me, I'd like to make you a counter job offer over a cup of coffee and some truely ridiculous strudel." he extends an arm and opens the door back out for her like a gentleman would, "Also," he eyes her up and down, "you look better. I approve."

Audrey tilts her head slightly, pausing, before she turns to follow him out. She may be a member of the team, but she's still always been a little bit independent. No one's likely to wonder if she isn't there. "It's amazing what regular access to things like food, beds, and showers will do," she replies with a brief twitch of her lips, pausing to let him catch up from the door before walking next to him again. "And other things. There's growing up by doing grown up things, and then there's growing up by taking ownership of them."

Deathstroke nods his head, "I agree in principle if not in degree." he says as they walk. It's a leisurely pace, but one set by New York standards. Walking with him is different then walking as herself, for starters, people /move/ out of the way. Traffic flows around him and those in front of him unconsciously shift away when he gets to close, as if making room so he can pass unmolested. She's worked on being unseen for so long, is so good at it, people don't see her. He's a different animal, people don't have to see him to know he's there and adjust accordingly. Takes a few moments to recognize, but once seen can't be unseen. She has to step aside for no one when standing next to him, "But then I never suspected you weren't a grown up, I suspected you lacked purpose. I offered you a means to find one and you found your own without my assistance," he glances down at her out of the corner of his eye and nods, "I respect that. It's why I kept tabs on you, see what you'd do with it. I'm impressed and I'm not easily impressed. You're diciplined, a skill so few of your generation seem to possess, driven, I like it all. That said," he turns the block and keeps walking, "I feel as though you are wasted here and soon enough you'll reach the limit of your potential in your current surroundings."

Being the boulder rather than the stream is new for Audrey, and for a few moments, she keeps glancing around them as people move, fascinated by the effect. At his observation, she shifts her shoulders uncomfortably. It's a motion that reminds her of the gun under her arm - a symbol of just one of the things that often sets her apart from the rest of the team. "Different potential," she counters, though there's doubt in the words as well. "X-Men don't kill. Or if they do, then they hate themselves afterwards. On the other hand, given recent advances in police technology, that's probably smart."

Deathstroke shakes his head, "Not different potential, just different expectations." he replies, "X-Men aren't bad people, and for the most part I find them respectable if perhaps to enamored over petty jealousies and inane personal disputes. You should YouTube them. There's a great one of a lovers spat in the middle of a battle with some-" he makes a finger gun, "lazer shooting person. Because clearly the work place is where one airs out ones greivences." there is no eyerolling, but it's heavily implied. "You may share some trick of DNA with them, but you're not really like them, not in the ways that matter. You're like me and for the same reasons I am the way I am, you know that soon enough playing bodyguard and occasional civil rights activist will grow old and tiresome. You'll get bored." he says as if that were a completely normal responce. He pauses at a doorway and opens it for her, letting the small glass door with the painted sign on it old and chipped by time swing out of her way. He enters after her and orders in quick precise German to a very short and very round ancient old woman behind a counter she can barely see over. The old lady smiles a gummy toothless grin and disappears into the back, waddeling with age and excess weight. He motions to one of the trio of chairs inside the small cafe and pulls out her seat for her with a hand. "People like us hate being bored." he continues.

"That trick of genetics is all it's going to take, soon," Audrey points out as she follows him in, head tilting slightly to listen to the German. She smiles politely to the woman behind the counter, then settles into the chair, still watching him. "Bored or not, agree with them or not, if it comes down to public perception of mutants being the X-Men or smooth addicts, I'll take the X-Men. If they get those sensors set up the way they want, it's not going to matter who you are or what you think, as long as they see that trick of DNA." Despite the fact that she seems comfortable, she's still watching the room, checking the windows and the doors. "It's not boredom that's the problem, anyhow."

Deathstroke shakes his head, "It's always going to be someone, and mutation isn't the wave of the future that all of your kind seem to think it is. Destruction, annihilation, apocalypse on the other hand, all of that? Oh yeah." he leans back in his chair seemingly completely at ease. "The mutants are an easy target because the /vast/ numerical amount of them are all but powerless, suffering utterly useless mutations that are obvious and don't serve a function. The few of you with powers that can both be hidden and helpful are-" he hand waffels, "Well, humanity has a better success rate at giving abilities to it's own then your genes do of giving them to you." he smiles politely and goes quiet.

The little old lady shuffles her way out with a tray, the cups atop it chittering quietly as she makes her slow way there, her shaking hands causing them to rattle. He makes a subtle 'don't help' motion with his hand. It seems to take an eon for her to reach them, but she does and sets down the nice silver tray with it's recently used french press and the two steaming cups. Then she smiles at Slade again, all pink gums and rambles something out before turning to shuffle back the way she came, "Sweet lady. Serving customers is the only thing she takes pride in anymore, try to help her and she's liable to pour the coffee on your head." he shoots her a look, "Like most things she's not big on going gentle into that good night." he turns to his coffee and adds just the tiniest amount of salt, not sugar, before stirring with a small spoon. "Of course none of that matters. As potent as our own genetic manipulations have become, how advanced our weapons are, how powerful your people grow, none of you can stand against the might of a twenty year old girl from another planet who flies through helicarriers like they were tissue paper or underwater armies so vast and mighty that their lowliest soldier can flip an armored car or a single division of their infantry level whole city blocks." he sips from the coffee and eyes her over the rim, "You're worried about tracking stations? How long until you realize that it doesn't matter how well laid out the chairs are because the ship is sinking?"

Audrey quirks a brow at his summary of mutants versus experimentation, but she keeps her own counsel on that matter. Pointing out how badass mutants can be is sort of counter to her goal here anyhow. His gesture not to help comes just in time, as she's already tensing to stand, but she settles back at the motion. Her coffee gets a ludicrous amount of milk and sugar added, though that seems to be more habit than preference, a holdover from the time spent when the extra calories could help keep her alive.

"The ship, as in civilization as we know it?" she asks, arching a brow. "You don't think that's a little bit…dramatic?"

Deathstroke quirks a brow at her, "There are three Kryptonians on this planet," he says simply, "just three," he wiggles the fingers of the number up, "any one of which is capable of, with very little effort and knowledge, creating an extinction level event. Three of an entire species. Can you imagine what that would look like here? Imagine if seven billion people on this planet had that level of power, imagine the first serial killer with that strength, that speed. Or lets not be that dramatic, let's just imagine someone metal disturbed, a scitzophrenic, someone ill and unable to control their own mind with that level of invulnerability, for whom drugs are not an option." he quiets as the old lady returns with struddel and grins at the pair of them again and waddles off, once more the exchange seeming to take a glacial age.

"But maybe you're right. Maybe I'm being dramatic. Let's try something more realistic. Let's imagine that a hero, someone powerful and well respected, in a colorful costume, were to kill thousands of people with a single act. Let's imagine this person were associated with America as a nation because this is where they spend all of their time, where they are seen working, socializing, living. Let's assume this person kills thousands of people without thought for the consequences for their actions because there are no consequences to be had. There is no law to arrest them, make them stand trial, no prison that could hold them even if they /were/ taken in." he leans forward to stare at Audrey with intensity, "Power without limits and action without consequence. What does that recipe cook up in your mind?"

"Nothing good." Audrey takes a sip of her coffee, then reaches out to pick off a corner of the struedel. "On the other hand, it's like asking what I'm going to do about an earthquake, isn't it? A volcano eruption? Try not to build my house on the ring of fire, I guess." She sips again, eyes narrowing and brow furrowing as she looks back to him. "This sounds a lot like the police argument for those genetic scanners, you know," she points out.

Taking a deep breath, she leans back in her chair, gaze intent on him. "But I've got a feeling that's not the point you're going for. If it was up to you, what would you do about what happened in Orleans?"

Deathstroke nods his head, "Exacly, but where can you build your house that someone with that power and no consequences couldn't find you? Could do as they please?" he asks, "There is no higher ground, no stable tectonic plates, no volcanic activity safe zone." he uses the dull butter knife to cut up the pastry as she makes her points and he shakes his head, "The argument is the same but the solution is different." he says as he shovels a bit of the caloricly insane food onto her plate and then some onto his own before picking up the fork that appears mini in his hand and working free a small bite sized bit, "Try some, it's amazing. They know their business here." he chews and leans back into his chair a bit, wiping at the corners of his mouth with a cloth napkin, "I wouldn't change a thing, it's not my place to change things. I do however believe in a measure of justice for all. I expect the heroes to face the same justice anyone else would." he offers a small smile, "And yes, I understand the hypocricy of the statement, I am very self aware." another bite which he clearly enjoys.

"This is all the doom and gloom and unfun stuff that I didn't really need to explain to you, you know all this already. Here's the brass tax. I've been authorized to create a team, a team I will train, I will lead, and we will be tasked by an agency to police those that have never before been policed. Does this mean we will hunt villains? Yes, of course, they remain a threat and that will never change, but it also means that when a hero crosses the line, no matter who they may be, they must be held accountable. Power without limits we cannot control, but actions without consequence?" he shakes his head. "We would be the consequence. Most of these beings we would capture and deliver for incarceration or trial as the law provides, those that resisted beyond our ability to detain would be warned, then taken down one way or another. Just. Like. Everyone. Else." he eyes her, "What would I do about Orleans? I'd arrest Supergirl and throw her in a cell to face the system she claims to uphold." he nods at her, "Seems to me you're big on equality."

Audrey is quiet as she takes a piece of the pastry, eating a few bites while he explains. It's one of the things she's good at. Listening. Thinking things through. "What agency?" she finally asks, looking up and reaching for her coffee again. "And who's choosing the targets? Will we have a team member of our own working intel on them, verifying the information so we're not just blindly going on government-sponsored witch hunts?"

Deathstroke nods his head having expected the questions from someone with her background, "An angency as yet to be created functioning under the strictest of secrecy laws. For obvious reasons." hero hunters, even lawful ones, would be /very/ unpopular with just about everyone, no matter how many villains they also brought in. "The targets will be choosen for us with varifiable intel, though honestly most of them will be chosen by me, only on special cases would we be called in by the organization overseeing this team to take down someone specifically. I havn't secured an intelligence opperator yet, though I've a few in mind to fill the roll I refuse to do this without one entirely."

"So it's back under cover." Which is generally a negative for Audrey. On the other hand, the words lack some of the bitterness they held the last time they met. "But no differently from the way other teams operate. Go in, do the job, leave the criminals for the authorities to deal with." She takes a few more bites of pastry, looking around the shop as she does. "Who or what do you have that can take on a Superman-level threat, though, that wouldn't do it otherwise?"

Deathstroke hand waffels again, "Sort of. Think of it… a bit like the National Guard. Only with stricter attendence requirements. You will continue to live the life you lead now, only when your phone rings you /answer/ it, and when the time comes you show up. Required training on the regular, but not so regular as to make it so you can't continue the life you have now. At first it will be harder, because the training will be more intense, until I'm pleased by what I see, at which point you go back to," he waves a hand in the direction of the building they left behind a block or so ago. "As yet?" he asks, "Me." he states with a flat tone of complete confidence, "At least, in a manner of speaking. But the team is not complete yet, in fact, you are my second recruit and your primary occupation for us will be infiltration and to a lesser extent intelligence gathering. I'm still putting it all together, very early stages here. If it's any consolation the pay is exceptional, the skill of your fellow agents will be undeniable, and there are perks as conserns access to support and equipment that otherwise wouldn't be an option." he pushes himself to his feet and tosses a couple 100's on the table, "It's a lot to lay out before you, I get it, so I don't require an answer right away. This is the number you can reach me at," he places a card with only a number on it on her side of the table, "or more accurately an answering service. When it beeps, ask whatever question you want, make any concerns known, I'll get them and answer each as best I can. In three days the offer expires."

"National Guard," Audrey echoes, a smile flickering across her features. "I can work with that." She reaches for the card, setting down her coffee. "This agency. If I'm in, I want them to make it clear to the army that I'm off-limits," she says as she tucks the card away. "No more tracking. No more retrieval teams. They accept I'm gone as far as they're concerned, and that's the end of it."

Deathstroke tilts his head to the side, "That… isn't going to work." he points out, "Secrecy remember?" he eyes her, "Nothing can change overly much, no one that knows you can think that you suddenly have a clean slate because then they'll ask why. Why's will get them, and you, into trouble." but something tugs at the corner of his mouth slightly, "That said. I'll see to it their tracking of you becomes suddenly far less effective and that any retreival teams that come for you are somehow… misinformed as conserns the power and preparedness of your allies. A slow trickle from constant threat to a number of sound beatings will let your allies believe the cost of bringing you in is now greater then the reward of them winning and eventually the Army will back off, without any 'whys' need be asked. And of course, worse comes to worse…" he taps the card, "you'll have my number and no one on my team gets tossed in a cell unless I do it myself. No one." there's a protectiveness that's almost animal in the tone of the words.

"Fair enough." Audrey stands up, pushing her chair in and absently stacking dishes so there's less to tidy up. "I'm interested," she says honestly. "Every powered person who goes out and makes a mess makes the rest of the world more afraid. And the more afraid they are, the more likely they are to come after people like me or other mutants. People they can point at and say they're different, they're dangerous, they're trouble. Fewer of those is good for us and for them."

Deathstroke nods once, "Three days." he says, "Make sure you want this. Make sure you're prepared. You are likely the person that knows the least about me so allow me to be clear, I will break you down to your base componants and rebuild you from the ground up. You think you know hardship, you know dicipline, you know what training is like." this time his grin is predatory, "If you survive boot with me, you'll know better." somehow 'survive' doesn't sound like a metaphor when he says it. "I'll be checking the service regularly for any questions you have. But you should stay, enjoy the coffee and the rest of the danish, shame to let that go to waste." he pats her once on the shoulder, harder then one might if the gesture were fatherly or friendly, more like a soldier would another soldier, firm, heavy, almost a slap but not quite, then he's gone, the little bell on the door chiming cheerfully.

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